Doug Martin and why timing is everything.

By: Pete Davidson : October 27, 2012 5:56pm

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A lot of well known fantasy football outlets are suddenly high on Doug Martin. Does the word “laggard” mean anything to you? Telling us that a back who just busted out on national TV looked “fresh" or “explosive” or that Martin is a “major talent” is no longer news:  day late ... dollar short. The idea is to get this information to the fantasy GM before the 40-point bust-out performance, not after.

We don’t take much time to blow our own horn at Rotobahn, but we’ll make an exception in this case, because Doug Martin is all about what we do here. We are committed to knowing about the talent at the lesser known schools.  We obviously scout the big programs too, but sometimes the best value lies under the least overturned rocks.  We don’t care if they come from Abilene Christian, Boise, Buffalo or Mount Union. We scout them all the same.

We do not listen to the internet fantasy groupthink. We do not listen to what the talking heads say. We trust OUR scouting reports and we trust our own eyes. Here’s what we had to say on Martin before he ever played an NFL down.

“Here’s a player we absolutely love. He was a mid-first rounder on our boards in April and, in our view, Tampa stole him late in rd one. We project him to be the lead back though he may lose some carries to LeGarrette Blount if Blount ever gets his head on straight. Rotobahn thinks Martin has a great chance to finish 2012 as an RB1. He is a 3-down tailback with great hands and insanely quick feet. He’s also fast with the ability to make yards after contact. Martin is a potential round one fixture in future fantasy drafts and we would not be shocked if he posted first round numbers as a rookie. We actually like him as much as Richardson, but T-Rich has a few studs to run behind, so he gets the nod for now.”

How’s that for clarity?

Now, understand, in our minds, Martin started off very well. We graded him well on a per-touch basis based on what we saw on the game film. We know that a lot of outlets and GMs were disappointed with Martin’s fantasy production. This was mostly about a lack of touchdowns which was largely about circumstance and the team’s early struggles with the new offense brought in by new HC Greg Schiano. Did Rotobahn panic after Martin’s early “struggles”? No, we didn’t. In fact, we suggested that you trade for Martin--twice.

“His owners are worried after last week’s debacle and now Martin is on the bye. You might be able to get a solid back at a low price if you move now. We still love Martin’s ability and we expect RB2 value on most weeks.”

Then, after Martin looked better in week six, we doubled down.

“He looked good last week and we like his closing schedule a lot. We think he’ll post solid RB2 numbers the rest of the way and you can get him pretty cheap right now. Opposing defenses will be reacting to the downfield passing attack in the coming weeks and that will also benefit Martin. This kid is a good back and we see no reason to doubt him going forward. He looked fresh last week.”

I understand that this looks like chest beating and please be assured that we will not waste any more time patting ourselves on the back. We just want one thing to be clear.... At Rotobahn, we don’t follow. We have real football guys breaking down talent. When we know something, we know it and we don’t get scared off by a bad game or even a string of them. Sometimes you have to stay steady, because the NFL is a wild unpredictable place. Knowing the difference between a trend and an anomaly is about not just wisdom, but being informed. So the next time we are telling you something that might seem to fly in the face of reality, just remember, we have our reasons. We are not throwing darts at a draft board.

For example, as the rest of the fantasy world jumps off of Alex Green’s bandwagon after a weak outing in Week 7, we are sticking.  We fully expect some growing pains for the young back and we further understand that Green Bay is a mediocre run blocking team. Green did leave a few yards of the field last week, but not as many as you’d think by just looking at the numbers. There were a lot of Rams’ defenders in the Packers’ backfield. Green had no chance on a bunch of runs. The Rams are very underrated in their front seven and that was a factor.

In our view, even if Green struggles to post great per-carry stats in some games, his role in the passing game is going to grow. Green has more upside as a receiver in the Packers’ offense than any of their other backs. We expect this to keep his value up over time. And remember, Green is still learning. He lost time as a rookie due to the lockout and he lost valuable offseason time in the spring due to his rehab from ACL surgery. Green is a work-in-progress and he is learning on the job due to Cedric Benson’s injury. So be patient with Green. We think his production will increase as he finds his way in the GB offense and as they find more ways to use him. We think he’s a player to add and not a player to trade. He is a better player than James Starks and we’d bank on that. We’re also very unsure that Benson will even come back this year, so factor that in too.

Back to Martin....  As we have been saying for weeks, we like his closing schedule and we like what the Bucs are doing with the downfield passing game. It’s going to make Martin more dangerous and more likely to rip off big chunks on the ground. If you took our advice and got him while he was cheap, we think you did well.

Lastly, there’s some really epic weather bearing down on Rotobahn Headquarters. We may go dark for a few days if we experience the power losses the powers that be are predicting. I’ll do my best to keep up with our normal content, but please accept our pre-apologies if there is a burp in out output next week. And, with all sincerity, please prepare if you are in Sandy’s path. This one looks real.

I’ll be updating the rankings throughout the rest of today. Good luck this weekend!

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